Presenting a few key take outs from the WCIR (Wipro Council of Industry Research) and IAMAI report on the Future of the India MVAS industry – Beyond what is now to where it could be headed in times to come.
1. Number of mobile Internet users in India set to explode by a factor 2X between December 2012 and March 2014, from 87.1mln to nearly 165 mln.
2. Indian MVAS market will grow at a CAGR of 25% between 2012 and 2015 to reach US $9.5 billion in 2015, from an estimated US $4.9 billion in 2012.
3. Even though 96% of the survey respondents accessed the internet on mobile devices, only 56% had subscribed to some form of paid MVAS
a. Most of these subscriptions are basic offerings such as SMS alerts and CRBTs
b. Paid services used today only enable limited value delivery to providers and consumers alike
4. VAS services available today are perceived to lack customization and are easily replaced with freely available options.
5. Complexity is consistently rated as a key barrier to service adoption. 64% of participants believed that advanced mobile health services would to be too complex to use.
6. Users express concerns about the unique aspects of the mobile experience that could compromise usability. 56% of participants were concerned about the screen size of mobile devices.
7. Researches such IAMAI and Wipro establish that they are willing to pay for services when they perceive value.
a. 80% of the respondents believe that enriched and transformational data services will save time.
b. Therefore, the use of basic services is projected to decline, while enriched and transformational services are projected to rise from current usage levels
c. Transformational services will reinvent the consumer experience – and may ultimately replace the brick and mortar alternatives or complement them
8. In terms of VA services, mEntertainment is expected to be the largest contributor to operator MVAS revenues and provides key opportunities in localized vernacular content, on-demand music and video content and live TV shows and events
9. Innovation in other MVAS categories such as mEducation, mFinance, mHealth has largely stalled out with basic SMS and IVR based information services.
10. Services available today only skim the surface of consumer experience. As categories reach higher and higher maturities, consumer requirements will evolve faster- driving a rapid shift in consumer preference from basic to enriched to transformational services
With acceleration in 3G/4G deployments, increasing smartphone penetration and MVAS maturity – Users will migrate from the basic services to enriched services aand furthermore to Transformational services – and that will drive dramatic growth in the industry. Listing down a few recommendations maximize chances of success in the Indian MVAS market.
Source: Beyond the tip of the Iceberg IAMAI/WCIR report
Rapid adoption of mobile devices such as the Tablets, Smart TVs, Connected Cars and Augmented Reality units are creating a huge impact on the way consumers interact with content, potentially putting billions of consumer dollars up for grabs: cable licensing agreements, advertising budgets, on-demand subscription fees, not to mention the future of the connected home. But despite all of the excitement — or perhaps because of it — there is still a lot of confusion about what the different types of multi screen apps are and how the technology is evolving to support this use case.
Multi screen scenarios imply the instances when the user is engaged across multiple screens – the most notable is that of a TV and a mobile device. Google recently shared that a stunning 77% of users are using a second device when they are watching TV. On the surface of it, a content owner could be upset about this dual activity being a distraction and yet – Dual screen apps present an opportunity to engage the user on more than one consumption platform. For example- watching the Superbowl on TV and tweeting about the event online. Thus, this allows creation of an interactive experience that enhances it with additional information, related advertising, or calls to action. These are the types of experiences that are poised to radically transform the way consumers engage with content.
Social Aggregators of multi screen content i.e Companies like GetGlue, Shazam, Zeebox, and Sidecastr have all created apps that detect what program a user is watching and present social or companion content on their device. Their hope is that they can assemble a large enough audience to become interesting to advertisers that want to target these users
Amongst the bigger players, Apple, Google, and Microsoft are each building enabling technology for dual screen apps into their platforms, as they view content-centric apps as a key battleground in their overall platform war. Also participating are consumer electronics giants like Samsung, Sony, and LG.
Prima Facie, the key here is when fundamental technology architectures are in play, platforms generally win in the long run. If one can successfully deliver the capabilities that enable armies of developers to build vertical or use case-specific applications, the network effects will generally overwhelm any individual competitor that is trying to do everything on its own.
Post the maps fiasco, Apple has been under some heat – and Google’s alacrity was very natural and expected. Symbolically, Google is now churning better Apps that work with the Apple eco-system thereby challenging the status quo of the Apple Mobile eco-system as the piece de resistance of the Mobile world. Google is thus taking Apple out from its biggest strength eating into it – as like a worm- going inside-out.
From the Google perspective, Google is putting its resources at apps that work on the iOS platform as well and there is statistical evidence that Google strategy is working. Sample the AppData which now records YouTube and Google maps as the No.1 and 2 iPhone apps.
Now then- it puts Apple on the backfoot then? In a pre-2008 Internet world dominated by Google, Apple’s app experience based strategy was a major departure in terms of branded apps, app publications and “there’s an app for that approach”. Suddenly Internet was not a passive media – it was rich content media with immersive experiences designed by publishers for the users. Advertisers and Publishers saw Apple as the challenger in chief to an Internet world to which Google search was the prominent portal. Android coming from behind to take over Apple’s App domain is something that the Late Steve Jobs or the current Tim Cook wouldn’t have wanted. Unfortunately that is how its seems to be panning out now.
However, from a longer perspective – it aint much of anything really – The battle is not so much between Google and Apple as much as Open Source and Propreitary. And Apple has a lesson or two to take home in terms of the amount of control of its walled garden that it must forego, choosing its strenths in terms of device based service/experience integration.
As quoted in an earlier post – Does Apple need to change course its philosophy of exclusivity?
To maintain its position, the company will have to focus more on giving its devices superb access to content it doesn’t control and hasn’t approved. Apples’ dogged and quixotic quest for control on the eco-system, my lead it to block more realistic and better solutions that emerge on the open Internet. There is leaf out of the book of Amazon that Apple could take a learning from (managing the eco-system). Apple must learn and execute to collaborate – rather than whole control.
There is no win-all. You win some,you loose some. The timess- they are changing!
If the early results are any indication, Adobe, has become a model for companies coping with tech’s changing landscape. But the Business transition is easier said – Adobe will have to navigate the rise of cloud, Mobility, social media and highly targeted online advertising. It also pits Adobe against some very well entrenched competition – Microsoft and Apple in productivity programs, IBM and Google in digital marketing.
Adobe’s move into digital marketing- which has its roots in the acquisition of Omniture, a web analytics company in 2009 is an equally adroit move. The second leg of Adobe’s strategy re-orientation includes data driven marketing – real-time bidding on Google search ads, targeting display ads using Facebook profiles, analyzing which Tweets or blog posts drive traffic, testing different site designs to see which generate sales. To make those features possible, Adobe has spent $800 million in the last 3 years on acquisitions since Omniture: Day Software for website-content management, Demdex for ad targeting, Efficient Frontier for search and social media ad exchanges, and Auditude for inserting ads inside streaming videos. According to Gartner, marketing budgets will grow 9% this year, compared with 4.7% for IT. Adobe wants to benefit from that growth by selling marketing services and software simultaneously. Thus, Adobe tools once relied on just for creating a website, have become much more useful as a digital marketing suite.
Still, Adobe’s marketing push means going up against deep-pocketed companies like IBM, Microsoft, Oracle, and Google — all of which are more experienced in the enterprise software market. The next year or so will be critical for Adobe as it changes tracks and dons a new gear. It is a risk but then its vastly better than waiting for the emminent death of Adobe Flash.Adobe’s post-Flash strategy was announced in November 2011, alongside the restructuring that made digital marketing and Creative Cloud the company’s top priorities Adobe saw the writing on the wall and conciously anchored itself on the Creative Cloud and Digital Marketing as the next streams of business. Now we await the new Adobe!
In the age of Cloud,Mobility,Social Media and altering business models,Companies that simply try to preserve the status quo will fail – Inspired
Adobe is the midst of transition would inspire many a case studies. A company that epitomized Shrink Wrapped High Quality Software is working on complete re-doing of its business and revenue models with an eye on the future. Historically, Adobe has been a productivity suite company with its software being centred around enterprises, film-makers, webmasters and content creators and it has done well till recent times. Not wishing to be caught on the wrong foot holding on to status quo, Adobe has readied and implemented a radical change in its business model- It has embraced the cloud based distribution and digital marketing and is phasing out the CD based version of “pay beforehand $1400-$2400” software distribution to Software in the cloud, monthly subscription service. This sachet service works three ways – It steadies revenue per month, it reduces piracy (Adobe was losing a reported $1bn to piracy of its software) and it also increases penetration (The move to subscriptions is a clever and thoughtful way to lower the price point). This model works on a $20-$50 subscription model – and this would bring 325K subs by end of 2012 as per Adobe. Lready Adobe has a million free memberships on its Cloud.The current onboarding rate is 11K per week. Overall average revenue per user is 20% higher compared with the old product. That number will rise even further, the company says, because it is much more likely to sell support services, website hosting, or server management to cloud customers. Already Adobe is augmenting its cloud product by addition of features and functionalities such as Creative Cloud for teams, making it easy (collaborate effort); Adobe Muse (For creation of Mobile websites); Creative Cloud Connection for desktop synching and collaborative sharing;Creative Cloud Training; and demonstrating the unlimited access to the Digital Publishing technology used by major publishers to create interactive content for the smartphones and tablets.
Sure this audacious moved spooked the stock which lost steam in 2011 but it is back in action and has traced a healthy recovery. The stock is way behind its historic highs of $47.9- however at $35.5 it is trading 47% above its 2011 trough of $24.17. Even while the stock is underperforming as per analyst’s expectations- the 3Q, 2012 profits have reversed a trend of 3 quarters of dipping profits. In the most recent quarter, profit increased by 3.2% year-over-year. Looking back further, profit dropped 2.4% in the second quarter, 21.1% in the first quarter and 35.4% in the fourth quarter of the last fiscal year. The turnaround seems to be working for Adobe and we would get to know more about this in time. As for the shift from boxed software to subscriptions: It is far from over. In fact, it is the company’s greatest source of uncertainty.
Facebook’s genesis was in terms of being a web destination and while Facebook is the no.1 mobile app globally across diverse platforms, Facebook was loosing traction to Android and Apple which harbored a collaborative eco-system approach. With 350 million users accessing facebook from Mobiles on a monthly basis that was too big an opportunity to hand it over to iOS and Android platforms.
Thus came into being Facebook’s recent push into HTML5 with Project Spartan,which features apps built for Facebook’s platform that can run on top of the Facebook Messenger app, instead of requiring the user to launch the iOS app equivalent. This poses a disintermediation challenge to Apple. Facebook is trying to beef up its payments system, Facebook Credits, to handle application payments and cut out the iTunes model ingrained into the iOS ecosystem.Facebook is demonstrating that it can leverage its hold over consumers at the software level, through the power of the social network, across multiple platforms.
So now, here’s an interesting question: Can Facebook unseat Apple/Android at its own game, within its own ecosystem?
A research report by Ericsson endeavours to put some numbers to global data traffic projections: Mobile broadband subscriptions are expected to reach almost 5 billion in 2016, up from the expected 900 million by the end of 2011.That would represent 60% CAGR. Total smartphone traffic is expected to triple during 2011 and increase 12 fold by 2016 (roughly equal to PC generated traffic). Growth in mobile data traffic between 2011 and 2016 is mainly expected to be driven by video. By 2016 more than 30 percent of the world’s population will live in metropolitan and urban areas with a density of more than 1,000 people per square kilometer. These areas represent less than 1 percent of the Earth’s total land area, yet they are set to generate around 60 percent of total mobile traffic. Overall, an increase in mobile broadband, new smartphones, and higher app consumption will all drive the push for more data and Smartphones alone will account for a huge part of that.
Compare this to the growth in Global consumer Internet traffic which is expected to grow 5X during 2009-14 (CISCO report). Though the time intervals for both these data points are not concurrent, it highlights the growth perspective in data/internet led networks. The same report puts the growth in Mobility based data at 39X between 2009 and 2014. Increasing Video traffic driven by live video and TV are expected to drive global consumer internet video consumption by a factor of 10X between 2009-14 (and to me that is massively understated). The growth in Internet video consumption will be prevalent across all categories of Video: Internet to PC (Long, Short and Live), Internet to TV and Ambient Video/Internet PVR.
Driven by Lifestyle requirements, Living situation and Employment status, consumption of Internet video content is accelerating at a smart pace even as Content and its discovery itself is becoming smarter. What could this mean for consumers and the service providers ?
For the consumer: They would seek for capabilities that enable them to easily and securely access content, applications and infrastructure they seek from any location or device.
For the service provider: It would mean infrastructure capabilities that are re-usable, expandable, scalable for quick time to market and better insight and control over consumer’s end to end experience. Smart content delivery networks constitute a $6bn-$15bn market for service providers by 2015. Massive internet video growth drives puts forth huge operating challenges but also very unique revenue and monetization opportunities. Content management will perhaps not be enough unless the service providers are clear on their consumer segmentation, segment focus and positioning strategies and how much money could be made on these services. Again since this sector is fairly nascent at this point of time, regulatory and anti-trust considerations could also be key influencers.
Amazon Kindle Fire: Playing to a niche, it re-draws rules in the Tablet segment
The $199 pricing from Amazon, is one of the best examples of penetrative pricing- where by Amazon can make more money later by selling books, movies, music, apps through its app store. The reason Amazon can do it is because it has an offering very similar to Apple where it’s controlling the device, platform (it has a modified version of Android) and app store. Hence, it’s looking at a long term revenue by following a penetration pricing strategy. In doing so, it’s also utilizing its existing capacity of billions of gigabytes of cloud storage combined with Amazon Silk interface for faster loading of webpages to provide a better user experience.The reason other tablet players in the market such as Samsung, HTC, Motorola among others can’t follow this strategy, with the exception of apple, is because they only control the device part and have very little control over Android platform (controlled by Google) or app store (again influenced by Google).
On the flip side, Kindle Fire isn’t proper Android tablet. It is a forked version which means, whatever updates Google does will not make it to the Fire. It will Amazon’s prerogative to get the updates. Even the Android Market is out of bounds on the Kindle Fire. What really is unexplainable is the absence of HSPA capabilities on the tablet. Is it cost? For a mobile device which is heavily dependent on anytime available cloud service, not having a innate mobile connection capability is befuddling. And then there is the lack of Camera? Surely That wasn’t a huge investment that Amazon opted out of. It was hygiene.
Kindle Fire has shown us that a successful tablet launch isn’t all about the greatest hardware. It’s the apps and the ecosystem. Without which the brightest of the tablets are destined to fail. And don’t make the mistake of considering this a success for Android tablets. Because it is not. This is a tablet which only an Amazon could have pulled of. In fact Kindle Fire would be a nemesis of Android tablets. Now they have to compete with both iPad and Kindle Fire – one at the top end and one and the lower end of the spectrum.
Amazon has done a brilliant job of picking its niche and playing to its strength – content: gaming, video, music or eBooks and build an ecosystem around it and then start selling. That in essence is the purpose and motto of tablets- Tablet happens to be a conduit to digital consumption. And Amazon has seems to have hit the nail quite on its head.
…is there some way that we can bring all these things (Amazon web services, Prime, Kindle, Instant video, the MP3 store and the Amazon appstore for Android) together into a remarkable product offering that customers would love.The answer is yes. It’s called Kindle Fire.”
Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos
Did the penny drop or the cookie crumble on Wednesday, the 28th September 2011 in the new wonder segment of devices: Tablets? It was about time.. users were waiting for a credible challenge to Apple’s iPad in the tablet segment. And while the 7” Android Kindle Fire doesnot exactly go head to head with iPad2, it does set the tablet segment up nicely. That was something that Androids and Blackberrys in spite of a considerable smart-phone presence have not been able to establish in the last 2 years. For starters, Kindle Fire sells for $200 (as against $400-$500 tag for 7” tablets), but it’s the little details that count and for Amazon, it’s the fact that this is an end-to-end device that really makes it outstanding. Kindle Fire is about the content and the content defines the Fire.
For starters, Amazon forked out a huge amount of customization on Android somewhere between Froyo 2.2 and Gingerbread 2.3 to a point where the Android interface seems to look very different from what it really is. Heavy modifications and kitsch on the Android platform apart Amazon made sure the mash-up works and works well. Amazon the great integrator balanced the Android topwork along with seamless integration with Amazon services.
Kindle Fire comes with a 1 GHz dual core processor, 7-inch capacitive touch screen with IPS display and a resolution of 1024×600, free cloud storage, 8 GB internal memory, battery life for 8 hours reading or 7.5 hours of watching videos and WiFi- nothing ground breaking in terms of device…. Except for the service integration- The cloud service which Amazon offers is the brightest part of Kindle Fire. 10,000 movies and popular TV shows, 800,000 books which cost $9.99 or less and 2 million free books – that’s the US customers get access to when they buy Kindle Fire. Amazon has also introduced a Silk Browser which is purported to be a new way of doing things on a tablet.